Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Many people don’t eat the breakfast that they should or skip this meal altogether, usually due to lack of time in the morning, but it’s true, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Why is Breakfast so Important?
Many people don’t eat breakfast because they are not hungry in the morning, usually because they have eaten a big meal or late snack the night before. Not eating breakfast is likely to make you restless, tired and moody throughout the morning. If you eat late at night or have a large evening meal, the body may still be digesting that food upon waking, and often the food is still sitting in the stomach due to digestion slowing down during sleep.
The body relies on glucose as its primary fuel, vital for brain function and providing energy for the physical activities of the day. Skipping breakfast will result in lack of concentration, less alertness, low blood sugar levels, energy dips and decreased productivity.
Breakfast and Weight Loss
It’s a common myth that skipping breakfast will aid weight loss. This is not true. Blood sugar levels are low upon waking after night-time fasting. Breakfast provides the necessary glucose to get you started for the day, curbs hunger and stops you reaching out for quick-fix foods and stimulants mid-morning, or binge eating later on in the day. It also cranks up your metabolism. Eating a substantial, nutritious breakfast results in consuming fewer calories throughout the day. Missing this important meal may also lead to nutrient deficiencies as when we do get hungry, we have a tendency to gravitate towards high-sugar, high-fat foods for a quick energy boost. Usually these types of foods are devoid of nutrients, raise blood sugar levels to an unhealthy peak, and will only satisfy us for a short time before the body forces the excess sugar in the blood to be removed, making us reach out for more quick-fix foods, causing weight gain.
Ideas for a healthy breakfast
- 2 boiled or poached eggs with a slice of wholegrain bread
- An omelete with veggies and a small fresh juice
- Muesli with seeds, nuts and fresh fruit
- Organic, natural yogurt with berries and seeds
- Wholegrain toast with natural nut or seed butter
- Whole oat porridge with almond milk and chopped fresh fruit
- A fruit smoothie with ground seeds
Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, Dinner like a Pauper
This old adage is certainly true. You need less energy in the evening when it’s time to relax and more energy at the start of the day, whilst topping up energy levels at lunchtime is crucial for getting you though the afternoon with boundless energy and mental alertness.
For lunch eat a substantial meal to energise you for the afternoon, but don’t choose heavy foods and do not over-eat as this will just make you feel sluggish. A big salad with fish or chicken, vegetables with beans or a hearty soup would be good choices.
Traditionally people eat a large dinner, however this can cause weight gain due to the body not being able to use up the energy. It is also likely to upset your sleep.
Generally speaking if you have a sedentary job, such as sitting at a desk all day, eat lightly. If you are active or do sport, you’ll need to adjust your eating patterns accordingly. Always remember however, that “one glove does not fit all”. So listen to the needs of your body and adjust your eating habits to fit your lifestyle.
Article by Jo Rowkins dipNT MBANT, nutritionist, founder of awakening health and executive health adviser of The Spa Resorts.